ANC following up on US 'regime change' concerns

2016-02-22 14:37
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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WATCH: ANC marches for non-racialism

2016-02-19 12:03

"Amandla ANC, long live the ANC," sing supporters of the party at a march in Pretoria. The party is holding a march for non-racialism and democracy in the country's administrative capital. In a statement Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said the gathering "is not a protest march." WATCH

Johannesburg - The ANC says it is using diplomatic channels to address its concerns that the US embassy is involved in "irregular activities" and is trying to advance regime change in South Africa.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told an anti-racism rally in Pretoria on Friday that he believed the US embassy was meeting regularly to mobilise for a change in leadership in the country, similar to the Arab Spring.

He also said the government was aware of a programme that took young people to the US for six weeks and then "plants them everywhere" when they return.

US ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, has denied the allegations.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told News24 on Monday that Mantashe had raised the concerns of the ANC.

"For issues of disagreement and so on between countries, if you have diplomatic relations you always explicitly use existing channels to raise whatever concerns you have."

Khoza would not be drawn into who was communicating with Washington DC on the issue. He told the Associated Press over the weekend that the US government must clarify the "irregular activities" of some of its diplomats in South Africa.

"We do not want to get into a public spat, we have raised our concerns, we believe the matter will be pursued using the proper channels going forward.

"At this stage there is nothing more we can say on the matter," Khoza told News24.

Gaspard responded to Mantashe's allegations on Friday in a series of tongue-in-cheek tweets, saying he wished that somebody would invite him to the meetings.

He also said: "I'm so disappointed as I always imagined that if I organised a coup it would look like Mardi Gras - food, music, dance."

Gaspard pointed out that the programme to take young South Africans to the US for six weeks was the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which forms part of the Young African Leadership Initiative. It was launched by President Barack Obama with the aim of supporting young African leaders to help strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. Mantashe himself had been asked to recommend young ANC leaders for it, Gaspard said.

Read more on:    anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  us

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